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Welcome to Bridgemead
Open Reception : Monday to Friday - 9am to 5pm
Contact : 01225 484904
Frankie Johns came to Bridgemead yesterday for the afternoon with his tambourines, maracas, hats and garlands for an afternoon of country and western, and fun. He said ” Everyone joined in the singing and we all enjoyed it. I’d not been to Bridgemead before but everyone was very welcoming.”
Maria Borkowski, who comes to Day Club at Bridgemead, will be 90 on 18th September 2017 and tells her extraordinary story.
Taken from her family at 13 years old
Looking immaculate and with twinkling eyes she tells how at the age of 13 she was taken from her family by the Gestapo from her home in Poland: “If they had not taken me it would have been my parents,” she says. She travelled on a very crowded train with no windows to Gagindrach.
There she had to milk seven cows twice a day, her hands swollen with cold. She had never milked a cow in her life. She was given one dress, petticoat, and wooden shoes and was extremely cold. She was forced to steal eggs as there was so little to eat. Bombs fell frequently but she was too scared to go to the shelter and hid in the hay. She worked with two French prisoners of war in the day and they went back to the Camp at night. She could not communicate with her family at all: “I just lived each day at a time,” she says.
After two and a half years the English and Americans came to rescue her: “We had an Easter Sunday dinner – it was lovely” she smiles. She was transferred to the Polish ATS in Berwick-on-Tweed, where she met her husband: “A lovely man, everyone loved him, they still love him”. Sadly, he died 4 years ago, after 66 years of marriage.
Moving to Bath
After he was demobbed the couple moved to Bath. It was very hard to find somewhere to live; after moving round they finally found one room near the current Marks and Spencer’s building. Originally, they were told they could stay for nine weeks, but ended up living there for nine years, the two of them and their three children in one room. “There was no water and just a gas ring to cook on. I had to fetch the water. I knitted and sewed clothes and when I took the children to the clinic the doctor always said how nice and clean they looked.”
“Then we moved to a cottage in Hedgemead Park where we stayed for 30 years. My husband had to fix up everything, the walls were full of holes – he was a clever man and did it all except the gas and electrics. My fourth child was born with a dislocated hip. It was a hard decision, but she had to wear a splint for 3 years, but it was all worth it, she recovered and she still has the splint now.” Maria is very proud of her four children, nine grandchildren and eight great grandchildren, with another one expected on 17th December.
Bridgemead Day Club
Then Maria and her husband moved to Brassmill Lane where she now lives. She heard about Bridgemead Day Club through friends and has been coming here since July. “I enjoy the lovely people here”, she says “I love the colouring – making poppies, ladybirds, mushrooms and flowers. I love my food and there is a very nice lunch. We do exercises. I exercise every morning at home for 20 minutes. I sleep well, eat well (but I don’t like fatty meat) and enjoy different people.”
It was very inspiring to have coffee and her favourite cinnamon biscuits with Maria, and hear her extraordinary story.
The Deputy Mayor, Councillor Rob Appleyard, said on a recent visit:” Bridgemead is brilliant. There is a sense of grace and love here, and the food is amazing!” Elliot Gower is part of the great team in the kitchens at Bridgemead producing the amazing food. He has worked here for 12 years, with the chefs Mark and Maria.
He says: “They are a good bunch of people and we have a laugh. Everyone has five minutes to spare chatting to the residents. It can be stressful but everyone goes out of their way to help each other. Everything is cooked from scratch and it is all fresh, except for the cod in batter.”
“The most popular dish is a roast dinner – pork, lamb, chicken or beef. On their birthdays residents choose their favourite menus – and it is always a roast dinner or salmon.”
“Everyone loves the puddings: Eton mess, cherry pie, fresh fruit cocktail, chocolate sponge, banana custard and baked apple are favourites – there’s hardly ever anything left.”
“We cater for everyone, whether it’s yeast free, dairy free or fat free; or we puree some foods for those who can’t swallow easily.”
“All in all, it’s a homely, friendly environment.”
Lauren from Golden Toes got everybody moving with a tropical themed seated dance class this week. Everyone had a go at the samba, flamenco and hula dance and Bridgemead was dancing! Lauren said “Everyone performed beautifully and it was a great pleasure to dance with and for everyone.”
Five Bridgemead residents, along with Heather, Denise and Sonia took advantage of the sunshine by taking a stroll around Bath Botanical Gardens this week,and admired the flower borders in full bloom.
Residents enjoyed watching families and children picnicking and playing in the sunshine. Dog walkers stopped to chat and their dogs were petted by all. It was the perfect day for ice-cream at the Royal Pavilion Café in Royal Victoria Park afterwards with a lovely view of the bowling green and tennis courts.
“Last year I had a very nasty fall and ended up in Southmead Hospital having a 5 hour operation on my neck: the surgeon had to take a bone from my hip to replace some of the vertebrae in my neck. My son, who lives in Paris, looked around several nursing homes to find somewhere for me to stay while I recovered. He said one was very luxurious, but when he went to Bridgemead he talked to Pam and was very impressed, and thought Bridgemead would suit me as I would be really happy there. I stayed there for five months from end of December to May 2017.”
“I had a lovely room overlooking the river – there was always something to look at. There was a bath, although I would have preferred a shower. The staff were really good, especially Nicola who had been there for 18 years. On the whole the staff were very good. Sometimes some of the night staff were bank staff but the Sisters were in charge. The Sisters definitely made sure I took all my pills!”
“The atmosphere was very friendly and pleasant. I sat on the end of a table for four in the dining room and got to know the other people. The food was really good.”
“I really enjoyed having the family room next door to me, to use with my visitors. We had our own tea and coffee and could look out over the river or go outside onto the balcony. In fact I had my 80th birthday party there with a lovely cake with a paint brush and music on it!”
“I also loved going to the roof garden. I put on my coat and took my walker and went up there to dead-head the pansies – they made a lovely display! I also liked to sit in the conservatory and to go to the garden at the bottom. I really enjoyed going down to the river right at the bottom, there was a sense of being somewhere very different there.”
“I liked the attitude of the people at Bridgemead. If there was something they could do to help you they would. There was a lady who always came to the dining room in her bare feet. I asked Pam about it and she said she always did this at home and Bridgemead is her home. I remember I wanted to go out on my own for a walk, so I went out. Pam came out to see me and arranged for some-one to go with me. Eventually my physio said I could go on my own. She still comes here now and I am learning to salsa with her – lots of side and backward steps!”
We had a lovely day out at Bath City Farm. A particular favourite was the speckled hen!